Happy Wednesday! Megan here.

Weather check: The April showers didn't get the memo that it's May

This week, we've got election results, a look at what a new hotel will mean for Harrisburg, a new way the county is helping folks connect with community resources (a story I teased Friday but then decided to save – oops). And of course, you'll find a number of Super Simplified Stories –  including more visuals of the proposed new pools – and your weekly roundup of events.

And now, news:


Meet Sioux Falls' newest City Councilor

Note: This story has been updated to include a response from Deffenbaugh.

Simplified: Sioux Falls' City Council lineup is complete. Former state lawmaker and banker Richard Thomason will represent the city in the At-Large seat, rounding out four new members joining the eight-member council this year.

Why it matters

  • Thomason earned a little over 52% of the vote on Tuesday, edging out opposing candidate Jordan Deffenbaugh by a margin of about 700 votes, all told.
  • In just the few weeks between the initial election on April 9 and the runoff, Thomason spent more than $30,000 on his campaign. That's more than Deffenbaugh spent throughout the entire campaign, according to campaign finance reports filed by both candidates.
  • Turnout was slightly higher for the runoff election than for the April 9 election with about 240 more ballots cast. That's still considerably low for a City Council election with just shy of 8% of registered voters participating – a rate Mayor Paul TenHaken criticized during his State of the City address a few weeks ago.
"We’re extremely delighted that basically the same percentage came out," Thomason told Sioux Falls Simplified Tuesday night. "You would’ve thought that it would’ve gone the other way. Obviously Jordan and I both had campaigns that really resonated with people, and we had a pretty narrow gap between the two of us."

Deffenbaugh said he hopes the campaign leads to more conversation between councilors and the community, and he hinted that his work is not yet done.

"This is just the beginning," Deffenbaugh said. "We have a playbook now. We have a way to engage people. We know how we can play this game, and I wouldn't be surprised if in two years we get a good collection of folks running for every seat – maybe even a mayoral candidate."

Why did we need a runoff?


How a hotel will set the stage for future development in Harrisburg

This is a paid piece from the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance.

Simplified: Harrisburg's first-ever hotel is in the works, and it's likely going to be the start of much more development in the fast-growing city. Here's what you need to know.

Why it matters

  • A study commissioned by the Harrisburg Economic Development Corporation last spring found that Harrisburg's growing population is ready and able to support the addition of a hotel in the community.
  • The plan is to build a four-story boutique hotel at the corner of Minnesota Avenue and Willow Avenue with a rooftop lounge overlooking the apple orchard, said Aundrea Albertsen, vice president of development with Northern Plains Management and Design.
  • In the future, the plan is to build out a "bespoke village-type atmosphere" to fill out the land adjacent to the hotel Albertsen added. That could include shared green spaces, courtyards, as well as space for both businesses and recreation.
"Leaders in Harrisburg have known for years we've needed a hotel," said Marcus Mahlen, chair of the Harrisburg Economic Development Corporation. "That's the next stage of growth in being able to attract families and keep them in town."

Tell me more about the hotel


Super Simplified Stories

  • Want to see more of what the new pools will look like? You can see more detailed images of the proposed features of the new Frank Olson rec center and the new outdoor pool at Kuehn Park. (Click the "View the Presentation" button after following the attached links to see more slides with renderings.)
  • Thoughts on a new Whittier Middle School? The Sioux Falls School Board will be discussing plans for a new Whittier Middle School as well as the affect that could have on district boundaries. The board will be taking public input during its meeting this afternoon at 3 p.m. at the Instructional Planning Center. More background here.
  • Figure skating coming to Augie. Augustana University named its inaugural club figure skating head coach, Riley Block. Block is the director of the Sioux Falls Figure Skating Club, as well as the founder of its hockey academy. The intercollegiate competitive figure skating season runs from November through April.
  • Money for Make-A-Wish. The Ty Eschenbaum Foundation on Monday announced a $100,000 donation to Make-A-Wish South Dakota & Montana.
  • Cheers to S.D. journalists. The South Dakota NewsMedia Association (formerly the South Dakota Newspaper Association) announced its annual award winners last week – including a big win for Sioux Falls journalist Makenzie Huber of South Dakota Searchlight. Learn more about her and the other winners here.


These new kiosks will make it easier to access county resources

Simplified: Minnehaha County's Human Services department recently added four computer kiosks to give folks an easy way to connect with services, apply for apartments, and more.

Why it matters

  • The kiosks came as a result of a recent redesign of the human service department's front desk, Director Kari Benz told Sioux Falls Simplified.
  • The four kiosks are, in part, a response to an online application process the county developed during the pandemic to make it easier to connect people with assistance.
  • In addition to county assistance, the kiosks can be used to fill out applications for jobs, apartment, Medicaid, and more. County staff are also on hand to offer help as needed as people navigate those services.
"We really have tried to streamline what we do so we can expedite getting people connected to (services)," Benz said.

Tell me more


Stuff to do: May 1-7

  • Drink wine, see art. The downtown Art & Wine walk runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, and with 33 businesses/artists participating, there's plenty of both wine and art to go around. Get the details here.
  • Hit up the Falls Park farmers market. Farmers market season is officially back this weekend. The market is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, and you can check out the vendors and plan your visit here.
  • Recognize missing people. South Dakota Urban Indian Health is hosting a vigil on Sunday evening to recognize missing and murdered indigenous relatives (MMIR). The event will begin with a meal at SDUIH and then a gathering and vigil at the Arc of Dreams. Details here.
  • Shop influencer closets. Find clothes, shoes, handbags, accessories and more at the Sioux Empire Closet Sale on Saturday. The sale runs from 9 a.m. to noon at Five Oaks Event Venue. Learn more and see who's selling stuff here.
  • Snag some new plants. Cherry Rock Farms is hosting a plant sale from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Snag some non-GMO seed and organic soil plant starts. More here.


What I'm falling for this week:


More Simplified Stories

Sioux Falls women share their journeys with infertility
It’s Infertility Awareness Week, and in recognition of this common, but often undiscussed experience, Sioux Falls Simplified reached out to some local women to hear their stories.
Get smart about civic engagement with Siyanne Redda
Siyanne Redda is an 18-year-old senior at Washington High School and in her second year of serving on the Mayor’s Youth Council.
Get a look at what’s coming for the new Frank Olson and Kuehn Park pools
The Sioux Falls City Council will decide in the coming weeks whether the city should invest $77 million in new aquatics and indoor recreation facilities.


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Reach out

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Thank you

Thank you to Sioux Falls Simplified sponsors, including Dakota Adventure Supply, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, Panther Premier Print Solutions, Barre3 Sioux Falls, Midco, the Great Plains Zoo, and the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance. When you support them, you're also supporting Sioux Falls Simplified.